Aboveground dendromass allometry of hybrid black poplars for energy crops
Keywords:aboveground dendromass, black poplar hybrids, allometric relationships, lignocellulosic crops, short-rotation plantations
AbstractCultivation of energy crops is concerned with estimation of the total lignified biomass (dendromass) production, which is based on the plantation density and individual plant dendromass. The main objective of this study was to investigate the allometry of aboveground leafless biomass of juvenile black poplar hybrids (Populus deltoides x P. nigra ), traditionally used for timber and cellulose production, and to derive generic allometric models for dendromass prediction, relevant to energy crop cultivation in Bulgaria. The study material comprised a variety of growth sites, tree ages and clones, specific to poplar plantings in Bulgaria. We used three principal quantitative predictors: diameter at breast height, total tree height and mean stand (stock) height. The models were not differentiated by clone, because the black poplar hybrids tested were not equally represented in the data, and the inclusion of tree age as a predictor variable seemed unreliable, because of the significant, up to 3 years, variation, which was possible within the narrow age range investigated. We defined the mean stand (stock) height as a composite quantitative variable, which reflected the interaction between the time since planting (age), site quality and the intrinsic growth potential. Stepwise and backward multiple regression analyses were applied to these quantitative variables and their products and sets of adequacy and goodnessof-fit criteria were used to derive individual biomass models for stem and branches. Then we developed compatible additive systems of models for stem, branch and total lignified biomass in log-transformed form. Finally, the prediction data were back-transformed, applying correction for bias, and were cross-validated. Three systems of generic equations were derived to enable flexible model implementation. Equation system M1 proposes a stem biomass model based on tree and stand heights and stem diameter, and a model for branches including mean stand height and breast height diameter; this model displayed the best goodness-of-fit characteristics. Model system M2 uses only the tree height and diameter and therefore is most relevant to dendromass determination in single trees or harvested saplings, while model M3 allows fast and sufficiently accurate biomass estimation of standing poplar stock, because it employs the average stand height and the individual tree diameters. All models are applicable to predict lignified aboveground biomass of juvenile Populus deltoides x P. nigra trees of diameter up to 21 cm and total height up to 16 m.
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